SEASON OF THE WITCH Review

by     Posted 3 years, 229 days ago

season_of_the_witch_movie_poster_slice

Season of the Witch stumbles out of the gates and continues down that path to a mediocre finale that spoils a decent twist with underwhelming special effects and clichés. The acting alone should have floated this period farce by director Dominic Sena, but it feels like Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman are rowing against each other; Cage plods while Perlman charms and conjures laughter. The real shame is that this was filmed on beautiful foreign lands and briefly utilizes wonderfully gothic sets, yet is rather boring save for a thrilling albeit cheesy bridge-crossing scene. The fact that crossing a bridge is a high point in a sword and sorcery film should set off warning signs, but if you are still under Season of the Witch’s spell, hit the jump for the full review.

Behman (Cage) and Felson (Perlman) are inseparable 14th century Crusaders that slay hundreds of heathens and have a raucous time doing so. When Behman has a sudden epiphany that occurs when he kills an innocent villager, the duo effectively quit the Crusading gig and return to Behman’s village. Decimated by a mysterious plague, the surrounding area blames an accused witch (Claire Foy). When Behman and Felson are discovered and thrown in jail for deserting the Crusades, they reluctantly accept the task of transporting the girl to a faraway church that will remove the curse for good. The duo is joined by a righteous priest, a heralded knight, a dim-witted guide, and a brave altar boy with misguided dreams of knighthood. However, the journey won’t be easy and the question remains whether the girl is even a witch at all, or if this will be more innocent blood spilled in the name of God.

season_of_the_witch_movie_image_ron_perlman_nicolas_cage_01Director Dominic Sena is tasked with putting all of this together within a 95 minute, PG-13 framework. To save time, the Crusading portion is done mostly in a slowed-down visual montage of battle after battle and has one of the first unintentionally hilarious moments. To separate Perlman and Cage visually from themselves and the other fighters, they don some of the worst helmets I have seen in a period film; Perlman’s has a frumpy, squashed look at the top while Cage’s is overlarge. This essentially sets the tone for the film; where certain moments could have been serious or thrilling, they often opt for silly. Everything has a B-movie tone but Season of the Witch never fully embraces the silliness; things are often unintentionally hilarious, including the forced Shakespearean dialog to remind viewers that  the wagons, swords, and castles aren’t the only thing setting this as a 14th century road film.

The production quality of the sets and scenery are one of the few redeeming qualities of Season of the Witch. Filmed in Austria, Croatia, and Hungary, we are rewarded with beautiful landscapes and castles that look appropriate to the time and set the epic nature of the tale. The dark hues and natural lighting help the dreary mood, and the ghastly depiction of the plague furthers it. However, corners were clearly cut on a few of the CGI elements, especially the finale. There is even a nice twist to set up the final act that upon reflection doesn’t change the trajectory of the plot, but provides a twist nonetheless. While the sets, location, and lighting are highlights, the editing of the fight scenes often render them difficult to follow. The sword play feels well-choreographed, but someone had too many angles to play with and much of it is lost in the shuffle.

season_of_the_witch_movie_image_claire_foy_01Logic is also hit or miss at times, but the supporting cast manages to trudge through the story without sinking. Claire Foy as “The Girl” shines with a wicked sense of dark humor and toying omniscience. Meanwhile, Perlman has a number of one-liners that lighten the mood and keep things fun. That’s when Cage comes in like the friend that wants to join the fun and tells a joke that often rings hollow. Not helping his cause is the sudden changes his character makes; why would he decide to help out the church after declaring them morally corrupt and inept? If you don’t catch the five second epiphany, you may never know.

Despite the general lack of fun, I harbor no resentment towards Season of the Witch. There are a number of missing elements that keeps things from ever becoming more than mediocre–namely a sensible plot–but the film never topples over the edge towards walk-out bad. The film is even thankfully short. However, that is not enough for me to ever recommend it. One of the more remarkable feats of Season of the Witch is that Cage’s hair made me gasp at first sight, but by the end I felt it worked; I just wish I could say the same for the film.

Score: C-




Like Us


Comments:

FB Comments

  • chuck

    Who would greenlight this project. I don’t get it from a financial point of view.

    • Guy

      Nicolas Cage + swords and sorcery?? IT’S GOLD BABY!!!

  • JimmYG

    I went to see it for action and special effects, & fantasy which it had, & some surprising scenes [where the dead moved]. I didn’t go for the acting, so I wasn’t disappointed.
    It even followed historical data, which I wasn’t expecting either, like the a scene where the historical “bruised & bleeding” where beating themselves with whips [they got authority over the church during the black plague, where the people would listen them in churches instead of the priests]. The crusades killing etc…
    I know that the devil can’t raise anyone from the dead [even though I have a Christian friend who does], but the movie is just for entertainment. The Catholic church looses it’s authority, & a boy has to read the exorcism, to cast out the demon. I also know it’s not a book that excises satan, but the spoken word of Faith, but it’s just a movie!
    In reality we have cast out demons before, my one friend has done exorcisms where you can see your breath in the room, it is quick & easy if you Know Jesus, but it’s a movie & Hollywood, so I understand they have to make exorcism look difficult like the devil has power. Naturally no one is accountable the devil made the girl do it, so she isn’t responsible, just a reflection of present society.
    So, I liked it action, some special effects & fantasy; go & see it unless you are looking for an acting classic like “Lawrence of Arabia” It is definitely not that!

  • Explorer The Seas

    I�ve been reading your blog site for awhile and it also not necessarily struck me to comment. Which is entirely ironic, for the reason that I�ve spent a long time within the last few days studying the required steps to produce people discuss my own personal website. Shortly afterwards reading a number of your site content I assume it�s controversial topics that stir people�s emotions until they can�t just overlook it.

  • akashmahour

    very good

Click Here